Japan calls for policy changes

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - A list of policy recommendations was submitted to the government concerning 21 challenges to Cambodia’s business climate representatives by Japanese companies and investors on Wednesday.

Representatives of Japanese companies and investors on Wednesday
submitted a list of policy recommendations to the government concerning
21 challenges to the Kingdom’s business climate.

Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami and leaders of the
Japanese Business Association in Cambodia (JBAC), Japan International
Cooperation Agency and Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) handed
the list to Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC)
secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea.

The recommendations were submitted during the 19th Cambodia-Japan
Public-Private Sector Meeting, held at the CDC with Chenda Sophea
presiding.

The delegation highlighted four of the 21 issues in the list as priorities.

First, the delegation called for Cambodian officials to work
with their Thai counterparts on temporarily making the Stung Bot-Ban
Nong Ian land crossing in Poipet town’s Stung Bot commune in Banteay
Meanchey province 100 per cent operational.

Second, it called for adjustments to the minimum tax imposed on qualified investment project (QIP) companies.

Third, it requested clarification as to the conditions under which
foreign nationals are entitled to seniority indemnity following
voluntarily termination of their labour agreement.

Fourth, it asked for a clear indication of electricity charges and advanced notification of planned power outages.

At the meeting, JBAC chairman Norimasa Yamazaki read a letter his
association submitted to Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier that day,
thanking the government for organising the event 19 times since 2007.

“At JBAC, we would like to express our appreciation for the spirit of
cooperation from the government of Cambodia at these meetings with the
relevant ministries and organisations, which seek immediate action and
solutions to each of these issues,” he said.

Yamazaki said the list noted the results of discussions with the
government during the 2019-2020 season, and underscored the issues that
needed resolution during the 2020-2021 season.

“JBAC also hopes that the issues raised in these policy
recommendations will be addressed at the Government-Private Sector Forum
[GPSF] to be tackled immediately.

“We understand that the GPSF is a key forum in developing the
important policy package to facilitate trade and investment,” he said.

The 19th Government-Private Sector Forum will be held on April 1 and chaired by Hun Sen.

Mikami said the strong support from the government, its ministries
and institutions have been helpful in easing the challenges Japanese
investors and businessmen in Cambodia face.

He expressed his hopes for a swift resolution to lingering issues,
and that the government will launch an action plan at the upcoming GPSF
to promote the Kingdom’s competitiveness and further diversify its
economy “to the next level”.

The CDC’s Chenda Sophea said the flow of Japanese investment has
helped to diversify Cambodia’s industrial sector from garment to
non-garment manufacturing – particularly electronics and automobile
accessories.

“Such investment from Japan creates new opportunities for Cambodia,
diversifies its economic base and enables its entry into the global
supply chain in line with the government’s Industrial Development Policy
2015-2025,” he said.

Between 1994 and the end of last year, the CDC approved on 143
projects of Japanese foreign direct investment, worth about $2.785
billion.

Jetro data shows that Cambodia exported more than $1.7 billion worth
of products to the Japanese market last year – up 7.7 per cent from
2018.

The Kingdom imported more than $563 million worth of products from Japan last year.

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